It doesn't feel right to call what U.K. trio Darkstar does synth-pop. The label tends to make most people think of bouncy ‘80s-style music. What Darkstar is doing is more subtle and often more eerie.
“Light Body Clock Starter” opens the album and sets the tone. It's lovely, but unsettling. The swirling sounds could engulf you, or at the least, hypnotize you. The pace picks up considerably in the next few tracks, but it never speeds up to anything really danceable. Mostly, Darkstar use the surely huge array of production tools at their disposal to create weirdly pretty and disjointed landscapes.
Somber piano and hymn-like vocals on “A Day's Pay For A Day's Work” are accompanied by a rhythm that sounds created from samples of a war movie battle scene. And speaking of samples, it's hard to put a finger on what you're hearing in “Amplified Ease,” but the off kilter feeling you get from the clattering, ringing rhythms and vocals that can't maintain a steady volume or even hold still in the headphone space is pretty delightful. “Hold Me Down” acts as the grand finale, closing out the album with 7+ minutes of electronic fluttering, bleeping, fizzing, twinkling and droning. It's even more mesmerizing than the opener.
The temptation while listening to News From Nowhere is to sort of sink in or drift off -- and if you feel like it, go for it -- but it also rewards a close listen. Synth-laden music has been very in-your-face lately, and Darkstar went a quieter route to get in your head.